Here’s a look at highlights of the bill’s we engaged on this week in Augusta.
In the ACF Committee there was a work session on Wednesday for LD 1849, “An Act to Ensure Fair and Timely Payment in the Harvesting of Wood Products.” Senator Jackson presented an amendment to the bill, approved by PLC, that states all wood cut under a service contract must be paid for in 30 days. The Council believed this could be problematic and suggested language that stated “unless parties have agreed to payment terms in the service contract.” We should see language for the bill and keep members posted. The divided report we believe was 9 to 4 in favor of the bill.
Also in ACF was a work session on LD 1874, “An Act to Support Maine Loggers’ and Truckers Right to Work in Maine by Improving Labor Standards.” Pat Sirois, SFI State Implementation Committee Director, explained the role of the SIC in supporting the SFI program. Ultimately, Senator Jackson proclaimed SFI was an industry standard that did not support loggers right to work. The committee voted along party lines with the majority approving the bill. BPL will need to determine next steps in their SFI membership.
In the ENR committee there was a work session on LD 1926, “An Act to Impose a Moratorium on New Point Source Discharge Licenses on the Lower Presumpscot River.” The DEP testified against this provision explaining that the river classification process has historically been used to control discharge licensing in Maine’s Rivers. The bill has implications for future forest manufacturing processing and was tabled.
In the Labor Committee on Wednesday LD 1190, “An Act to Ensure a Fair Workweek by Requiring Notice of Work Schedules.” MFPC has been part of a larger business coalition that has been opposed to this bill. Committee Chair Senator Tipping introduced a new sweeping amendment that continues to be troubling to the business community. The bill was tabled in work session.
Also in a Labor committee work session was LD 1794, “An Act to Enhance the Predictability of Mandated Overtime for Pulp and Paper Manufacturing Facility Employees.” It was an interesting session because the committee heard from the union president from the Woodland Mill that it was inappropriate for the legislature to be interfering with labor negotiations. The bill was tabled for future action.
LD 1964, “An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Commission to Develop a Paid Family Medical Leave Benefits Program” had a hearing in the Labor Committee (see MFPC testimony). The debate on this bill has been highly anticipated with many views expressed. The Governor weighed in with testimony suggesting changes in the proposal that were needed based on her conversations with the business community. It’s likely that something will move forward before the end of the session.
The Week Ahead
Disclaimer! The activity in committees is coming to an end but there are many last-minute additions to the committee schedules. In some cases, bills will be carried over into the next session, but others may be on a fast track for passage. We will switch our attention to full-time monitoring of bills as they go through the House and Senate for debate and enactment. Please be on standby to answer any calls for action!
The full schedule is provided below. If you have any questions, or need help submitting testimony, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for assistance.